Elske is Chicago’s only representative on Eater National’s Best New Restaurants in America, Eater roving critic Bill Addison’s list that was published Wednesday morning. The West Loop restaurant opened in December, part of the wave of wife-and-husband spots that debuted last year in Chicago (along with Smyth/The Loyalist — also in the West Loop — and others). Anna and David Posey made fine-dining more approachable along the bustling strip of restaurants on Randolph Restaurant Row. Only 12 restaurants across America were singled out on this year’s list, compared to 21 last year.
Addison is aware of the Poseys’ dynamic. He lauds the restaurant’s cohesiveness which flows from the design to the menu.
“Elske translates to ‘love’ in Danish; the 1960s-era tables and chairs, in a dining room of exposed brick and shiny dark floors, equally conjures cool Danish modern and swinging Mad Men poshness. The food mines the same aesthetic, melding Nordic austerity with Midwestern warmth. It’s a marriage of thrilling highs and lows. (And with many dishes presented as layered landscapes, it’s also textbook New Romanticism.)”
While Elske offers a tasting menu, Addison prefers dining a la carte. He gushed about stewed white asparagus paired with smoked trout, roasted quail spiked with garlicky walnut skordalia and dill, and artichoke barigoule.
Elske was one of 2016’s most-anticipated openings. No city had more than one entry on the list. Chicago had two representatives on last year’s Best Restaurants in America List with Oriole and Monteverde earning the honor.